A local area network gives you several advantages over an Internet connection related to file sharing and data transfer. Traditionally, local networks only function between computers connected to the same server or router in close geographic proximity, but several programs allow you to create a virtual private network, or VPN, and connect to others through your wireless router as if they shared your local network.
1. Set up your wireless router or modem. VPNs rely on your Internet connection, so ensure you have a stable connection to your wireless Internet source.
2. Download a VPN program. Hamachi, Wippien, SocialVPN and OpenVPN all offer VPN services for free. Install the chosen program on your computer and any other computers you wish the VPN to connect to.
3. Configure your computers’ firewall. Depending on your system and firewall settings, you may need to change your configuration to allow VPN connections. Open your firewall application and add your VPN program to the list of programs allowed to access the Internet.
4. Open the VPN program on each computer. Hamachi, SocialVPN and Wippien are all low-configuration programs, and require only a user name and network name to complete the setup. Once one user has completed the network setup, the other computers can connect to the VPN by specifying the network name and providing a password if required.
5. Configure security. To control unauthorized access to the VPN, the network creator should add a password to the network. Individual members can control their own settings through their system’s network configuration. In Windows use the “Homegroup and Sharing Options” in the Network and Sharing Center, and in OS X use the “Network” option in the System Preferences.